Schools are required by law, through the Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005 (as amended by the Education (Pupil Information) Regulations 2008), to keep curricular and educational records for each pupil, disclose these records to parents and pupils, report at least annually to all parents on their child’s progress and attainment and transfer pupil information and educational records as a pupil changes school. The headteacher’s report must take in a wide range of curricular information, together with a more general summary of progress.
For all first, second and third key stages, the headteacher’s annual report should include a brief commentary on the teacher’s assessment and judgement of progress of attainment in citizenship (both individually and in relation to other pupil’s in the same year which draws attention to any particular strengths and weaknesses of the pupil). Results of the fourth key stage will need to be reported, as with the results of any public examinations taken, by subject and grade. (Where information, such as the results of National Curriculum assessments, is not available before the end of the summer term, headteachers must ensure that it is sent to mothers and fathers within 15 school days of receiving it).
Schools, as independent public bodies, are directly responsible under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) for the collation, retention, storage and security of all information they produce and hold.This will include educational records, headteacher’s reports and any other personal information of individuals - pupils, staff and parents.
The Pupil Information Regulations require that a school’s governing body ensures that a pupil’s educational record is made available for their parent to see, free of charge, within 15 school days of receipt of the parent’s written request. If a parent makes a written request for a copy of the record this too must be provided and within 15 school days. Governing bodies can charge a fee for the copy but if they do, it must not be more than the cost of supply.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has a suggested scale basis for such costs which is available on its website.
Following a request from a parent to access or receive a copy of their child’s educational record, the governing body should refer to the Pupil Information Regulations (5(4)) and not release information which could not lawfully be provided to the pupil himself under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) or in relation to which the pupil himself would have no right to access under that Act or by any order made under sections 30(2) or 38 (1) of the DPA 1998 Act.
When pupils transfer schools it is important that their new school has, and acts on, information about previous performance. The obligations relating to the transfer of information are set out in Pupil Information Regulations and includes the requirement of the 'old' school to send the pupil's educational records and the common transfer file (CTF) within 15 school days of a pupil ceasing to be registered at the old school and the new school making the 'transfer' request.
The educational record is as defined in regulation 3(1) of the Regulations and includes the statement of special educational needs or personal education plan as applicable. The pupil’s educational record will comprise any record of information which is processed by or on behalf of a governing body of, or a teacher at, any school maintained by a local authority and any special school not so maintained or originates from or was supplied by or on behalf of an employee of the local authority which maintains the school. This will include any teacher or other employee at the school, including any educational psychologist engaged by the governing body under a contract. Information which is processed by a teacher solely for the teacher's own use will not form part of the educational record.
The minimum content of the CTF is as in Schedule 2 of the Regulations.
As the educational records need to be transferred securely, most schools will use the Department's secure school-to-school data transfer service (s2s). The online CTF specification on the s2s system is detailed and includes information above that noted in Schedule 2 of the regulations. Further information is available from the Department's Common Transfer File website, including the technical CTF specification.
When a pupil transfers to a further education college, the college will be better able to assess and plan for the provision for that pupil when they have full information about the pupil's prior needs and attainment.
Although there is no legal requirement in the Pupil Information Regulations to transfer pupil information to the FE college, schools are encouraged to use a secure method of transfer to send the pupil's CTF and educational record on receipt of a request from the FE college. The legal powers enabling such a transfer of information are section 537A(6) of the Education Act 1996 and The Education (Individual Pupil Information)( Prescribed Persons) (England) Regulations 2009. (The school will have to ensure that all other obligations under the DPA 1998 are complied with when transferring personal information to the FE college).
Information on headteachers' legal duty to send yearly reports to parents about each child's progress.
The ICO publishes a wide range of leaflets, briefing notes, guides and training materials for both individuals and organisations, free of charge.
This Guide explains the purpose and effect of each principle, and gives practical examples to illustrate how the principles apply in practice.